Thursday, 8 October 2015

You Can't Do Everything, But That's Okay

It seems like there’s so much time.  An infinite amount of possible adventures.  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Thirteen weekends just waiting to be filled with travel to the places you’ve dreamt of going.

Then you get here.  Immediately you are swept away by the splendor and excitement of where you are and what you’re doing.  You’re floored by the magnificence of Harlaxton itself, in awe of the life you’re leading, and so eager for what’s ahead.  But then, almost as quickly, you also realize it’s not just travel.  Your time here isn’t a semester-long vacation.  And even though your classes are taught by awesome professors in an amazing place, there’s still work to be done.  You may soon start to feel overwhelmed and even guilty because you have an incredible opportunity at your fingertips for a limited time and you don’t want to waste any of it.  You may feel like you need to spend every available second soaking in all that you can, while deep down you really just want to spend a weekend sleeping in and watching movies.
I’ve come to realize, especially after the past couple weeks with several tests and assignments to prepare for and complete, that I’m not going to be able to travel as much as I originally planned.  But that’s okay.  Those weekends that looked so empty before the semester started really aren’t as empty as they seemed.  Sometimes a weekend (or two or three) of not traveling is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Sacrificing a long weekend of far-away travel for a long weekend of sleeping late, getting homework and laundry done, and taking a Sunday trip to London to see The Lion King may just turn into one of your best weekends yet.
It’s easy, for me at least, to feel like I’m not taking full advantage of this experience if I don’t travel as much as possible while I’m here.  I don’t know if or when I’ll get the opportunity to come back to Europe, much less the opportunity to be here for three and a half months.  I’m slowly starting to realize though, that it’s better to take a few wonderful trips I can really enjoy than going somewhere every weekend but being stressed and exhausted while I do it because I haven’t given myself downtime.

So don’t feel bad if you don’t get to go everywhere you once planned on going.  Prioritize your list and pick out a few places you know you definitely want to see while you’re here.  Tackle those places first, and if you get to the others, great.  But if not, don’t beat yourself up.  This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but let that be encouraging rather than threatening.  Enjoy your time here and don’t stress.  After all, you only Harlaxton once.

Written by: Ashley Marshall

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